Indian gambling casinos

Stuart Lawrence stuartwl at
Mon Dec 9 18:54:19 MST 2002

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Proyect" <lnp3 at>

> The average Time reader
> will not take the trouble to distinguish between those Indians being
> victimized by the casinos or those benefiting from them. That's the

If so, how would that be the fault of an article whose headline and thesis
is that "Indian casinos have fallen far short of benefiting the wider Native
American population."?  Can't the average Time reader even absorb the
headline of this piece? If not, can we be sure that everything that what
Louis quaintly calls "the Luce press" has ever written about Indians has
irretrievably prejudiced that reader?

If anything, preconceived notions held by average Time readers that "those
Indians, they're all making money off casinos now" are directly challenged
by this article. That, to me, is reason to welcome it, rather than put it

Yes, it's sad that this export-oriented, foreign investment-driven economic
model has produced as much dependency, corruption, and exploitation as most
such schemes, but that's reality and we're here to deal with it. So there's
no alternative presented? Fine, let's talk about one. You don't preface
every mainstream article on China's capitalist industrialization by saying
it "tarnishes the image" of the Chinese and has little value because it
"presents no alternative to the current rotten system."

Perhaps Jim C. would comment on the opposition that the article points out
by some Indian tribes to land claims made by other tribes with no connection
to the land in question except a desire to develop a casino on it. That
opposition is based on the risk that genuine land claims would be
discredited. In a larger sense, the whole issue of Indian gambling, hardly
something that Time just pulled the covers off of, seems to threaten to
undermine the credibility of the sovereignty claims made by Indians with no
interest in gambling. Showing that the driving force behind this perversion
of the semi-sovereign status of Indian tribes is the parasitic gambling
industry, not the inherent corruption and greed of Indians, seems like a
valuable thing to do.

As for Louis' idea that "it's really up to Indians to clean up this
situation," that's a position of admirable purity, but it ignores the
reality that the "gaming" industry is a powerful political player that,
because it needs to find ways around traditional legal restrictions on
gambling, takes opportunistic advantage of revenue-starved governments and
corrupt politicians wherever and whenever it can. What I sense in Louis'
reaction here is that the non-Indian press, and non-Indians in general, have
no positive role to play in resolving the issues that matter most to
Indians. I think that's a mistaken view. None of what the article describes
would be possible without the direct participation of non-Indian political
and financial elites, and no solution is going to come unless non-Indians
mobilize in opposition to them as well. Exposing the way this industry feeds
off structural disempowerment and corruption is particularly relevant at a
time when politicians are selling the expansion of gambling as a cure for
fiscal crisis. If anything is needed, it's an alliance between Indian and
non-Indian opponents of the gambling parasites and their political clients.


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